Virtual Marketplace launched

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Six Brazilian cowhides, ten baseballs autographed by U.S. presidents and an electric guitar signed by the rock band Def Leppard. These are just a few of the favorite things to be sold on the first online auction for the 2012 Tweeds Holiday Home Tour.

A fundraiser for Teller Senior Coalition, Woodland Park Hockey Association and Woodland Aquatic Project, the auction is in conjunction with the home tour Dec. 1 and 2 and replaces the arts and crafts market of previous years.

A new venture for the home tour committee, the Virtual Marketplace offers browsing and shopping from the comfort of home or office. “You get to the marketplace and can peruse the items,” said Cord Prettyman, who with Karolyn Smith spearheaded the new venture. “Or if you're interested in art, you can click on `art work' and there will be photos of every piece. The photos were taken by Sheena Harper.”

During the auction period, the art works will hang in the Eichman Gallery at Park State Bank & Trust from Nov. 19 to Dec. 9 when the online buyer may collect the purchase.

To date, the marketplace features 78 items ranging from wedding dresses to a 1982 Corvette and a 2007 Pontiac Solstice, each in mint condition.

The auction items present possibilities for weekend mountain sojourns, at the Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park whose owners donated the entire inn, or at Bronco Billy's Hotel in Cripple Creek, which includes meals and gaming money.

An overnight at Upstairs at the Swiss Chalet includes dinner and breakfast.

For the quirky collector, the auction features six baseballs signed by political figures such as Fidel Castro. “There's not going to be a whole bunch of places on the planet where a Fidel Castro baseball is going to be available,” Prettyman said.

In the ooh-ah category is the lot at Paradise at Pikes Peak that comes with a retail value of $189,000 and a minimum bid of $150,000.

“Every item has a verbal description, a minimum bid and a buy-now price and where the item can be seen around town,” Prettyman said, adding that Paula Levy wrote the descriptions.

While some of the donations are glamorous and dramatic, most of them have opening bids from $25 to $100. While most of the items were outright donations others, such as the autographed baseballs, were donated on a reserved-bid basis

Acknowledging the technological challenge of implementing the site, Prettyman credits Matt Upton, of MNM WebWorks, for compiling the information. As well, Upton will monitor the bidding action.

In a media splash for the Holiday Home Tour, which features six area homes, the Virtual Marketplace Online Auction goes public during Media Night Nov. 16 at Tweeds.

The auction opens that evening at 5 p.m. and concludes at 10 p.m. Dec. 9. The site is at www.wphht.org. Click on “marketplace” in the tool bar and follow the directions. Payment is collected through PayPal.